Monday, November 28, 2011

The Heart of a Martyr

By Kim W.

Betty Scott was the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary couple in China. As a ten year old girl, she penned this heartfelt poem about her love for Jesus. Years later, Betty and her husband, John Stam, were serving as missionaries in China, attempting to take the gospel to unsaved people there. The Stams, as well as their 3 month old daughter, Helen Priscilla, fell into the hands of cruel Communists soldiers. These soldiers wanted to make an example of John and Betty Stam, and that is exactly what happened. They were beheaded in Miaosheo on December 8, 1934. Little Helen survived and was raised by her granparents and later adopted by an aunt and uncle.

This poem shows young Betty Stam's utter dependence on God, and perhaps it also shows how God was preparing her heart to give her life for the sake of the gospel. But it is not her faith that we are in awe is the object of her faith, Jesus Christ, that allowed her to endure such suffering of the flesh.

Persecution which results in death is the worst thing that can happen to a believer, but it is also the best thing. After this earthly life, we will be surrounded by God's glory and free from all of sin's effects and influences. Praise be to God!


I cannot live like Jesus,
Example though He be–
For He was strong and selfless,
And I am tied to ME.
I cannot live like Jesus;
My soul is never free;
My will is strong and stubborn;
My love is weak and wee.

I cannot look like Jesus–
More beautiful is He
In soul and eye and stature,
Than sunrise on the sea.
Behold His warm, His tangible,
His dear humanity!
Behold His white perfection
Of purest deity!

~ Elizabeth Alden Scott Stam, THE FAITH OF BETTY SCOTT STAM IN POEM AND VERSE. Arranged by her parents, Clara and Charles E. Scott. Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 1938, p. 50.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Suffering in the Flesh and God's AMAZING Grace

By Kim W.

If anyone is familiar with pain, it is Paul...He chose suffering over silence. He was bold in proclaiming the gospel of Christ because his life had been changed from the inside out. He knew God and wanted others to know the love of God deeply.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul was heartbroken. He felt betrayed. He loved the church at Corinth so much, but they were following false teachers and believing lies about Paul. He felt deep, profound pain over this. Isn't it true that those we are the closest to can cause the deepest pain, especially in the area of betrayal? Paul, also, was suffering from a thorn in his flesh and he begged God for relief three times in this passage.

So, here is Paul... experiencing deep hurts of suffering for doing what was right, feeling betrayed by a group of people that he dearly loved, and suffering with physical pain with no relief in sight. These are deeply painful life experiences.

When dealing with those we love who are profoundly hurting, who have experienced some of life's hardest trials, who have been hurt by serious and painful betrayals, we certainly need more than a shallow response. We certainly need to show love and patience with them while expressing words of comfort and help. The wonderful news is that God dealt with Paul's hurts with a deep, profound response...a life-changing response. He said, "My grace is sufficient." Wow - what a statement.

John 1:14 says that Jesus was ''full of grace." He was incarnate God--God in the flesh, so He had all the characteristics of God as a man. He was full of grace, but that is not all. John 1:16 tells us that "from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace."

We have all the grace needed:

1) to believe in the first place

2) to put away sin and put on the righteousness of Christ

3) to obey God's understand it and apply it to our lives

4) to effectively serve Him

5) to worship Him in spirit and in truth

6) to triumph over habitual sin of the past

7) to resist any temptation

8) to endure every kind of suffering, pain, disappointment, and sorrow

It is amazing grace, isn't it?

When Paul asked three times for relief from the thorn, God answered. But not by taking the pain away, because the pain was productive. He didn't remove the trouble, because the trouble was also helpful in Paul's life. He said,"My grace is sufficient." God is going to increase the grace for Paul, so that he can endure. He does that same for us. He gives us His wonderful, amazing grace, so that we may endure.

The word sufficient simply means "it is enough." God's grace is enough for anything that happens in this life.

When we suffer for doing what is right, God is putting His grace on display. A world is watching. As we endure, by God's grace, people will see the greatness of our God and the strength that He gives us. He receives all the glory and we are better off because of the suffering.

J.C. Ryle says this about suffering:

Affliction is one of God's medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly. Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater one. Prosperity and worldly comfort are what all naturally desire, but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day will testify with David, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted." (Psalm 119:71)

If God is Good by Randy Alcorn
"How God uses Suffering" (Part 1 and 2) by John MacArthur
Commentary on 1st Peter and 2nd Corinthians- John MacArthur

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Quotes

How worthy it is to remember former benefits when we come to beg for new. ~Stephen Charnock

We should spend as much time in thanking God for his benefits as we do in asking him for them. ~ Vincent de Paul

Prayer without thanksgiving is like a bird without wings. ~ William Hendriksen

Thanksgiving is good but thanks-living is better. ~ Matthew Henry

Thankless men are like swine feeding on acorns, which, though they fall upon their heads, never make them look up to the tree from which they come. ~ Jean Daille

I fear that what will surprise us most, when we see our Lord, will be the extent of our own ingratitude. ~ E. B. Pusey

It must make the devils themselves marvel to see us able to receive a pardon and a title to everlasting glory with scarcely more than a few cold syllables of gratitude to God. ~ Maurice Roberts

Ingratitude is not only the basest and meanest of sins, but it is the most frequent. ~ Wilton Merle Smith

It is sad when there is nothing for which we feel grateful to God, but it is serious when there is something and we fail to show gratitude, and it is tragic when we are so busy asking for more that we forget to thank him for what we have received. ~ William Still, from The Complete Gathered Gold

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dover, Denver (or Truth is NOT Relative)

By Jennifer R.

When I was in the fourth grade, we had to memorize the states and capitals. As my dad was quizzing me over the material, he asked me what state’s capital was Dover.

“Denver,” I confidently stated.

“No, Denver is the capital of Colorado. Dover is the capital of Delaware,” he corrected.

For the next several hours, days, and maybe even weeks, there was a fierce debate that would become part of our family folklore.

Clearly, either my teacher had transcribed the information incorrectly on the blackboard or I had transcribed it incorrectly on my paper. (My guess is that the fault was mine since I don’t remember anyone else making the same mistake.) However, try as he might, my dad could not convince me that I was wrong.

He offered to look up the information in an atlas and show it to me. Nope, I wouldn’t be convinced. (What? Did I think he would modify the atlas just for the purpose of misleading me?) He offered to call the airlines and ask them if he could fly to Dover, Denver to prove my error. Nope. (Because clearly the airlines were in cahoots with this conspiracy to make me fail fourth grade geography?) I can’t explain my irrational dogmatic belief that I was right and everyone else was wrong. And I don’t remember how I was finally convinced that I was wrong, but eventually I did learn that Dover is the capital of DELAWARE, not Denver. (And I’ll never forget it, thank you very much.)

My point in telling this story is that there was an absolute truth: Dover was the capital of Delaware and Denver was the capital of Colorado, no matter what I believed about those cities. In this day of relativism, people are prone to say that truth is relative. They say that something may be true “for you” but not true “for them.” (I wonder what the capital of Delaware is for those people?) However, truth is truth. If something is true, it is not dependent on whether you believe it or not. I could forever believe that Dover was the capital of Denver. It wouldn’t make it true.

The way to find out truth is to check a reliable source. For states and capitals, an atlas would be a good example of a reliable source. For life and godliness, the Bible is our infallible source. If God says it, you can believe it because He cannot lie. The Bible may not hold the answer to your every question (the capital of Kansas, for example), but the answers it does hold are 100% reliable.

Let us all resolve to read and study the Word of God more than ever so we can tap into this “information source” and learn real, absolute TRUTH.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
(John 8:31-32, NKJV)

Re-posted from Jennifer's blog, Reflections.